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Tax Return Trail Fix: Turn Your Refund Check Into Off-Road Fun With 38 New Products From SEMA 2018

Posted in Features on December 27, 2018
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Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers

Tax return season? You mean 4x4 upgrade season! What better way to put that refund check to good use than to invest it in your rig, with the help of these 38 new off-road products we discovered at the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (aka SEMA) Show, held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Spicer Extreme U-Joint

Why it’s cool: No needle bearings, oversized trunion, full-circle snap rings, grease zerks in each cap, and available for wheel-end applications in Dana 30, 44, and 60 axles.

AMSOIL Severe Gear Easy-Pack

Why it’s cool: Forget a bottle—squeeze your 75W-90 and 75W-140 gear lube where it needs to go like you would a ketchup packet.

DynoMax Muffler Elimination Kit for JL Wrangler

Why it’s cool: Say goodbye to the stock muffler and low-hanging tailpipe on your JL Wrangler, and say hello to ground clearance and a deep performance tone from the mandrel-bent stainless steel piping.

Rancho Crawler Short-Arm Kit

Why it’s cool: With separate kits for Rubicon and non-Rubicon Unlimited JL Wranglers, the Rancho kit includes progressive-rate springs, D2 bushings, and adjustable control arms, and still maintains compatibility with the Jeep Electronic Stability Control System. The kit is said to fit a 37-inch tire.

Currie Digital EZ-Deflator Pro

Why it’s cool: Deflate tires on even the hardest-to-reach beadlock wheels with an extended tip, digital gauge, and valve stem–illuminating light. Comes in a protective foam-lined plastic case.

Trigger 4 Plus

Why it’s cool: Control up to four 12V or 24V accessories with either a rocker panel or mobile app. Features four solid-state channels, waterproof connectors, a built-in DIN connector, and a 2018 SEMA Best New Products Award.

Dynatrac ProRock 44 for JL Wrangler

Why it’s cool: This axle claims to have the brawn necessary to support up to 38-inch tires with stronger axletubes, reinforced end forgings, and the elimination of the Front-Axle Disconnect.

Rigid Adapt E-Series Lightbar

Why it’s cool: Built-in GPS sensors monitor vehicle speed and adjust light from wide-angle flood patterns for low speed to a precision spot pattern for high speed. Comes in 20-, 30-, 40-, and 50-inch lengths.

Dometic CFF 45 12V Fridge

Why it’s cool: The lid opens from both sides, and with fewer frills, the cost stays low, just like the temperature of the goodies you’ll be storing inside.

Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Rear Long-Travel DSSV Shocks

Why it’s cool: Add 10 percent more travel to the rear of the ’17-and-up Colorado ZR2 and drastically improve off-road performance.

Addictive Desert Designs ’19 Ram 1500 Stealth Fighter Bumper

Why it’s cool: This bumper is slim-fitting and matches the body lines of the Ram 1500 while offering space for a 40-inch LED bar, shackle mounts, and OEM parking sensor mounts.

Mickey Thompson Baja Pro X

Why it’s cool: With a sticky-as-gum tread compound, 43-inch diameter, and ferocious-looking scooped lugs, this new rubber is “For Offroad Use Only, Not for Highway Use.”

Warn 8274-70

Why it’s cool: A 6hp motor, 150 feet of synthetic Spydura rope, 10,000-pound pulling capacity, Warn 70th Anniversary badging, and only 999 will be made.

Dana Ultimate Dana 44 AdvanTek for Wrangler JL

Why it’s cool: The bolt-in replacement JL front axle increases ground clearance by half an inch; boasts a thicker 9.5mm axletube and upgraded 1410 U-joints; and comes in 4.56, 4.88, 5.13, and 5.38 gear ratios.

Baja Designs LP6

Why it’s cool: Integrated Peripheral Technology blasts 10,300 lumens into a 200-degree spread of usable lighting.

Mahle Motorsports 6.7L Cummins Forged Pistons

Why it’s cool: Crafted with Mahle’s proprietary M142 alloy forgings, and then machined with specific profile and ovality geometries, profiled pin bores, and radiused valve pockets. A Grafal skirt coating is also used to reduce drag and wear along with hard-anodized top ring grooves.

Rugged Ridge XHD Rock Sliders for Wrangler JL

Why it’s cool: The one-piece, 3mm steel-plate design protects the JL’s vulnerable pinch seam and also serves as a handy entry step while fending off trailside boulders.

Fab Fours Brake System

Why it’s cool: Bring your rig to a stop with an octet of 43mm pistons and what is claimed to be the largest two-piece passenger vehicle rotor on the market.

American Expedition Vehicles Modular JL Bumper

Why it’s cool: Choose from stubby or full-width configurations with a bumper that is 20 pounds lighter than its JK counterpart—has a winch mount, skidplate, and space for two 7-inch LED lights.

Flex-A-Lite Flex-Wave

Why it’s cool: The serrated blades on this electric fan are quieter and more efficient than traditional S- and straight-blade fans. Prototyped and tested in an air tunnel to verify efficiency and airflow.

Maxtrax Winch Ring

Why it’s cool: In an effort to remove metal from vehicle recovery, Maxtrax introduced the Winch Ring to replace the traditional snatch block. Designed for synthetic rope and rated for 19,800 pounds.

Factor55 Load Distribution Plate

Why it’s cool: This link serves as a collection point for multiple vehicle recovery loads from various directions. It’s rated to 20,000 pounds, compatible with synthetic rope, and made in the USA.

Optima Battery Tray

Why it’s cool: Reduce the risk of your battery failing from the inherent shakes and vibrations of off-road driving with Optima’s grippy new tray.

Energy Suspension Rock-Flex Suspension System

Why it’s cool: Unlock suspension flex from your JL Wrangler with polyurethane components, high-performance bumpstops, and caster angle correction bushings for the lower control arms.

MouseBlocker PRO Anti-Rodent Device

Why it’s cool: Keep rodents from feasting on your wires while your vehicle is in storage with ultrasonic pulses that sound like jackhammers to the little critters. Plugs into 110V outlets and extension cords.

Steelcraft Stubby Jeep Bumper

Why it’s cool: A minimalist stubby bumper for JL Wranglers that accepts winches, 20-inch LED lightbars, shackles, and factory foglights.

Westin Automotive Jeep LED Grille

Why it’s cool: Each one-piece grille is made from 11-gauge steel and comes with a double-row LED lightbar.

Hellwig Rear Sway Bar for ’19 GM 1500

Why it’s cool: Made from 4140 steel, this sway bar is said to improve stiffness and handling while adding the option to adjust the amount of body roll reduction.

ICON Delta Joint 1-inch Uniball Retrofit Kits

Why it’s cool: Replaces standard 1-inch uniball joints with a joint that offers increased durability and performance.

BFGoodrich Tire Lettering

Why it’s cool: BFGoodrich and Tire Stickers partnered up so you can customize your tires with raised, multicolor letters designed to withstand trail conditions.

Locking Recovery Hook

Why it’s cool: Add some security to your 7/8-inch bumper tabs, accessible with the same key that fits in your vehicle’s ignition.

Tuffy Model 352 Lockbox

Why it’s cool: Lockable storage for ’19 GMC Sierra and ’19 Chevy Silverado. The 16-gauge, 1/8-inch steel fits under the bench seats with zero drilling.

Ditch Hitch

Why it’s cool: Specifically designed for handling shock loads that are frequently involved in vehicle recovery, the Ditch Hitch eliminates the need for unsafe chains and hooks.

Bestop CORE Doors for JK Wrangler

Why it’s cool: A one-piece, cast-aluminum door for the JK Wrangler with a smooth fit and a removable center panel.

JL/JK Dual-Rate Long-Travel Coil Springs

Why it’s cool: Dual-rate long-travel coils offer control and stability on the trail and comfort on the highway.

JL Wrangler 4-Inch Suspension Kit

Why it’s cool: Superlift’s 4-inch lift kit for the JL Wrangler includes springs that are location specific—each corner is specifically tuned for the weight of the Jeep.

Odyssey Batteries

Why it’s cool: The powerful Performance 94R-850 battery is now available for popular Jeep and Chevy models.

ProCharger JL Wrangler HO Intercooled System

With no permanent modifications necessary, ProCharger offers a supercharger for ’18 JL Wranglers that claims to add more than 50 percent power to the 3.6L engine with only 7 psi of boost.

Best New Product Award

Each year, the SEMA Best New Products Award recognizes cutting-edge products that will be on sale in 2019. Some of the winners appear in this guide, but here is a glimpse of some others. Best Exterior Accessory Product: Lund International, AVS Aeroskin LightShield Hood Protector. Best Packaging Design: Pedal Commander, Pedal Commander Performance Throttle Response Controller. Best Powersports Product: Warn Industries Inc., VRX 45-S. Best Tire Product: Cooper Tire, Cooper Discoverer AT3 4S. Best Van/Pickup/Sport-Utility Product: Brandmotion, Radar Blind Spot System with Cross Traffic Detection.

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